Taking their two daughters and small cargo of belongings, Oscar (Macapagal) and Mai Ramirez (Vega) up sticks from the poverty-stricken rice fields of the northern Philippines and head for the vastness of Manila. Life, there, is far from simple.
Made in the Philippines by a Brighton-born director, Metro Manila is a terrific piece of socially aware world cinema laced with tense, gripping crime-thriller action beats. It begins in the provinces, where the plummeting price of rice is putting farmer Oscar (Jake Macapagal) out of business. After moving his family to the big city, Manila, Oscar is offered a job as a security guard with the warm-hearted Ong (John Arcilla). But soon Ong reveals his true motives, setting the clock ticking on a well-played, intelligently scripted and unpredictable heist movie, paying off with an ingenious twist that works satisfyingly against expectations.
Brit filmmaker Sean Ellis does terrific work balancing the disparate elements of his crime-laced drama. Recommended.
Reviewed by Damon Wise